Vanessa Veselka is the author of the novel Zazen, which won the 2012 PEN/Bingham prize for fiction. Her work has appeared in Tin House, the Atlantic, Bust, Bitch, and other publications. And according to her bio, Veselka, who lives in Portland, Ore., has been at various times a teenage runaway, an expatriate, a union organizer, and a student of paleontology.
Her story “Christopher Hitchens” appears in ZYZZYVA’s 2012 Winter issue. Both funny and chilling, it tells of a young mother desperately looking to lose all her beliefs with the help of Lyle, an expert in such things who has a face like Eric Clapton’s. (“You’d never recognize him without context,” says the narrator.)
“Christopher Hitchens” is the second of three connected stories. The first, “Just Before Elena,” ran in Tin House No. 53. The third story is slated to run in SWINK.
The following is an excerpt from “Christopher Hitchens.”
Chaney Kwak is an award-winning travel writer living in San Francisco whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Condé Nast Traveler, among other places.
“Oh, Oh, Oh” is his first work of fiction in print and appears in ZYZZYVA’s Winter 2012 issue. Told in a cheeky, wised-up voice, it is the moving and hilarious tale of two very different men who share (mostly) the same first name. Despite the gulf separating their worlds, they are destined to meet–right at Christmas, making “Oh, Oh, Oh” perhaps the best holiday story ever involving furtive rest stop sex, over-the-top decorations, and online hustling.
The following is an excerpt.
“If you care about contemporary fiction, if you want to know the future of the American literary scene, you need to be reading ZYZZYVA.”—Adam Johnson “Zyzzyva is a snouted beetle, as any dictionary kid knows. It’s a word that nearly can’t be played in Scrabble, on account of all the Z’s. But those are novelty uses. The real meaning is this superb literary journal, which has real meaning. If you want to learn the things that literature can do with language, read it.” —Ben Greenman The newest issue of ZYZZYVA offers the same engaging mix of compelling writing and art […]